Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wilder by Christina Dodd

Synopsis:(back blurb) As a young man, Aleksandr Wilder abandoned his duty--and for that lapse, he was tortured, tormented ... and transformed.  Now he prowls the tunnels beneath the city, fighting on the frontline against the forces of hell, never daring to dream that he can live as a man again. After seven years fighting the world's ultimate evil, Chosen One Charisma Fangorn has become a tough, strong warrior without illusions or joy...even her gift of hearing the earthsong has faded.  Deaf to her own instincts, she never suspects that a monster lurks in the dark underneath the streets. When Aleksandr finds Charisma under attack, he rescues and cares for her, and hope stirs once more in his heart...and in the world. But in the secret recesses of his soul, he knows the truth. A woman so exceptional woman could never love a beast...could she?

My Thoughts: Frankly I was a bit disappointed in this book. It felt disjointed from the rest of the series. Perhaps because there was quite a bit of time between books 4 and this one. Perhaps it was the title that didn't flow with the rest of the series. Or maybe both. 

The first half of the book was quite a lovely beauty and the beast romance but the second half had a different feel to it. I've read these in order so I read this last book after reading the first 4 and it's a good thing. The coming together of the 7 Chosen Ones to beat the great Evil should have read more of a reunion to me but the characters from the previous 4 books felt like strangers. One of those previous characters almost died at the end and it was written as an afterthought as if that character was some unknown Ensign wearing a red shirt in an old Star Trek show. 

Also the back blurb of the book tells us who 'the beast' is but through a large part neither the hero (who as amnesia) nor the heroine knows who he is. It would have been much better if we, the readers, were also in the dark. Sure we could have figured it out, the book was Alexandr Wilder's book after all. BUT if it had been marketed as Charisma's book instead, Dodd could have pulled the suspense out more. 

In addition, there were no indications that the beast (aka Guardian) was actually Alexandr yet at one point Charisma decided he could be him anyway. I don't know how she came to that conclusion. He didn't look anything like Alexandr and his personality was different also. The only thing that fit was Guardian didn't know who he was and the timing lined up.

Anyway, there were some good moments in the book (really liked the Beauty and the Beast theme) and some not so good and someone not familiar with this series should not read this one first. You won't get the full impact on any of the secondary characters (those common to the entire Chosen Ones series) because they aren't in this book long enough. To tell the truth, the big battle will seem almost pointless if you haven't read any of the other books. It will be just a bunch of strangers trying to fight their way into a building.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Synopsis: You will kill. The only question is when.
In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.
Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.
Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.

My Thoughts:
Dystopian theme--check
Rabid pseudo zombies--check
Potential Star Crossed Lovers theme--check
One Immortal Kick Butt Teenage Girl--check

With all those things how could this not be a great book???

For the most part this was a great read...once it got going. Honestly its biggest downfall is the slow as molasses pacing. Once Allie is turned into a vampire one would expect the story to take off but it doesn't. We readers endure pages and pages of her walking through trees and fields and highways with little to absolutely nothing happening except for her internal fight on to drink blood or not to drink blood.

The beginning was interesting as we learned how Fringers survived and once she is turned, Allie's training was also interesting. What isn't interesting, however is Allie herself (she's rather annoying) or pretty much any of the other characters in this book. Allie is set up to be a survivalist but continues to do ignorant things that make me wonder how she survived being an "unregistered" at all.

The only interesting character is her vampire sire who, unfortunately, is only in a small part of this book. I'm hoping he is in the next book more than he was in this one.

Despite the pacing and the unlikable characters, Julie Kagawa does have a way of making me want to find out what happens next. Did the group find Eden? Who is this mysterious Jackal who claims to be the Vampire King? Where did Kanin, Allie's sire, go? Kagawa gave me just enough information in this book to be satisfied with the ending but left out just enough for me to want to continue on with the series. In addition the world building is good, her writing flows well (even when the story's pace is staggeringly slow) and it's easy to read which overall made me happy.

A word of warning to younger readers: there are some gory scenes, quite a few fighting scenes and many deaths. Please keep this in mind if you decide to read this book.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bite Me, Your Grace by Brooklyn Ann

Synopsis: England's "vampire craze" causes much vexation for the Lord Vampire of London, Ian Ashton. To save his reputation, Ian enlists aspiring authoress Angelica Winthrop without realizing she has hidden plans of her own.
Angelica Winthrop's life goal is to ruin her reputation, avoid marriage, and become a gothic authoress like her idol, Mary Shelley. To find inspiration for her new story, she breaks into the home of Ian Ashton, Duke of Burnrath, not knowing she will be coming up against the Lord Vampire of London. Romance sparks and reputations are at stake. But who knows the real difference between fact and fiction?

My Thoughts: I love me some historical romances. I love me some vampires. Put them together and I am in 7th Heaven. With Bite Me, Your Grace, Brooklyn Ann brought my two loves together in a way that wasn't awe inspiring but an OK read none the less.

Angelica Winthrop is an interesting character that unfortunately does quite a bit of flip flopping throughout the book. In the beginning she is intelligent, strong willed and witty but towards the middle she ends up becoming a bit, well, awful and no one I'd be interested in knowing. She does come back around but I was no longer in awe of her and moved my attention towards Ian and his second in command.

As far as Ian goes, he too managed to disappoint me in the end. I expected much more from the Master of the City than what he gave me upon rescuing his bride from the evil clutches of...well, it doesn't really matter who he rescued her from because technically he didn't really rescue her. But whatever.

From a plot perspective there was almost way too much going on because the author spent too much time focusing on the secondary plot threads giving too many pages away to them instead of focusing on building a believable romance between our hero and heroine.

On the positive side Brooklyn Ann's vampires are really interesting, her characters have much potential and Ian's second in command is so intriguing that he is more than enough to make me want to read more by Ann to see where she takes his character.